Balance

Ship Aftermath Pt 1

23rd of Floodtime 383 ONT, 10:25am, Champions Fist, Estos Ocean, Argyle.

THE BRIDGE

Teagan Beese took one more appraising look at the hobbled OMARU ship before turning the Champions Fist towards open-ocean. The fist was far larger and more seaworthy, it would fare much better away from land than their enemy and would have a better chance at loosing them. With the new course set she looked across the decking to see what needed to be done.

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“BOSUN!” she hollered down seeing the undine working his way towards the mid cabin. He acknowledged her, gave an order to a crew member standing near him and hurried up.

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“You beckoned Ms. Beese?” Ku-Aya said with an air of calm

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“Yes, what is our situation?”

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“Damage to the bowdeck is minor, the acid on the mid deck however will leave scaring and may cause problems, we also have minor sail damage but significant rigging damage, I have asked for the Master Carpenter to do a better assessment. I have crew members currently running a head count to am setting up mess hall as a temporary triage area for the injured, I will report on injuries once I know more, then should be able to give you a count on AB sailors and riggers” Teagan was surprised, the Bosun had struck her as a little flakey or airy in her initial conversations, but he appeared to be on top of things adequately

.

“Good,” She replied all business “we have the Monkey aid for another eleven or so hours, so see to the safety and health of our people first, then to repairs right after. The Monkeys won’t tire, but our crew will, I would like to have the sails up and running before that is up”

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“Aye-Aye Ms. Beese” he said not offering a salute but nodding respectfully before he turned

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“Oh and Bousn” she called seeing something past him on the mid deck

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“Yes?”

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“Why is our swab trying to mop with one hand while holding a parasol with the other?” she asked her eyes narrowing and locking onto Cassidy who was attempting to scrub a deck one handed while staying under a yellow frilly parasol

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“Ah… yes, apparently he has a strong allergy to the sun, and has the First Mates permission” the Undine Bosun replied “I see… dismissed” Teagan said, keeping her hand on the tiller and allowing the Bosun to go about his duties

THE MID DECK

. “Flit… Flit… are you ok, ya look like a wish gonna awry after midnight” Cassidy offered with a snicker seeing his tiny friend working his way across the mid deck.

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“I’m fine Cassidy” Flit said in a tone that did not imply being amused

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“Aight Aight, nuttin to get scundered about, just a bit o’ bolloxology twas all” the little frog gave Cassidy a long look of confusion. This happened a lot, Cassidy was getting more and more surprised about how few people actually understood perfectly good common. “If ya have a tic, I wanted to ask you about the Pounce and the Rumbly Muppet who met their unfortunate demise when they got langered by the acid wash… ya see, I’m knowing that your gonna want to wrap ‘em and drop ‘em aside all proper like, as behooves the poor rawny blokes. But before yer doin that I had clean on idea, the type that usually only drops in when yer full on the funny flour… so here it is, afor we be giving them the frop n’ fall I was thinking that perhaps we could drop a tap on the two o’ dem, put aside the sweet wash for a time when I might be having a powerful thirst… I can do it on the sly if that’s what is needed, heck the Rumbly Muppet already has a head like a bag of spuds thanks be to the acid, what do ya say?” it took a full minute for the little frog to respond, likely trying to translate the common into actual common

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“You’re asking if you can drain the blood of our two dead crew members”

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“Thar ya go, sayin it better than if I wrote a whole bloody poem!” Cassidy said snapping his fingers in excitement

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“No… No you can’t drain the blood from our allies, dead or not… they’ll be buried at sea as honorable members of our crew” The little frog declared somewhat indignantly.

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“Beggin yer pardon yer holiness, as I wasn’t aware that folk trying to be conserving finer things was a crime on this ship… ya say yer gonna go and toss them blokes into the deep blue… so what? That yer friend the giant killing machine can have himself a snack… I was offerin to share with toothy down there, but yer saying it all goes to him, how that for fair?” Flit stopped being forced to weigh the consequences of what he just said… he hadn’t really considered that Bitey would eat anyone ‘burried at sea’ and with biteys new found intelligence it certainly propelled this whole thing into an uncomfortable grey area.

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“Well…” Flitt said floundering a little “I guess if you were to get permission from the command team, then I would be ok with it”

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“You want me to be pesterin the command team like a priest of Hithilum looking to get a an acolyte on his knees? Especially when the ship is gone all bunduggery and upside down?… I have a notion that their a bit tight minded for the next few hours… long at least after the sweet wash’s been spoiled” Cassidy said adjusting his parasol as the ship turned and the shadows moved. Flitt let out a long low sigh

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“Ok… get that Captain’s permission, if ze says yes… take them below deck to ‘prepare them for burial’ I’ll talk to the crew about what this means for the long term when we have time”

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“See I knew you were on the up!… When we get to port I’ll get ya locked out of your tree like a monkey who forgot his keys!” Cassidy said slapping the tiny frog on the shoulder, with that he turned around in a hurry to go about finding the Captain. Flitt ran his hands through his slimy little head… these were difficult times they were living in… weird wonderful difficult times
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Embracing the Flame
At the alter of Prometheus in Lockland

At one time I truly believed I was made for peace.. Serenely floating down life’s river, happily greeting peoples in all the ports of the mighty Promethian…

I thought that I could my joy among the clouds of sails that dotted the ports. That once i was among the proud sailors who hoist the clouds and race the winds that I would know true happiness..

I even found myself more and more drawn to the wisdom of the great titan and sought to find within my soul what I could not find in the water nor on the winds.. but surrounded by magnificent friends and allies, I felt I could not do enough for them, that without truly feeling whole I could never be enough for them…

When I was faced with the otherworldly gates of water and fire, I fled to the waters I have believed i knew, without ever truly pondering on the real reason the other gate was open to me. I had listened, but did not learn as i began wading down a path I thought was the one meant for me.

I had taken into myself only half the titan’s lesson, As so many others had in the past, I had chosen the easy path in following his footsteps, the flowing meandering trail through life kept within the banks, but no more. Though flow i may as the world lets me, i need be ready to ignite the very banks of the river and leap ahead past the slow and pondering course of life to strike out at the dangers ahead.

I know what i must become…

{Flitt pulls out the muffled bell taken from the necromancer in the river of life, and places it over the altar}

Now i see the path i must take, to face the challenges ahead, to defend my allies, to protect and bring glory to my lord and his followers.

{Pulling out a bottle of whisky, blesses it and begins to pour it over the bell and its wool covering}

I will wash the lands of the taint of Talib wherever i shall find it.

{with a force of will the Bells wrapping ignite, the heat of the blessed whisky burning rapidly heating the bell to a glow}

I will embrace the flame within me and bring its light to bear on those who would harm friend and ally.

{The wool padding on the glowing bell burns away as a glowing spectral scimitar coalesces in Flitts hand with a pommel like water and a blade like flame}

I shall become the flame dancing on the water.

{The now burning bell floats off the altar as if rising with a wave, three quick strokes, as fast as a flickering candle and the pieces drop onto the alter, smoldering}

Oh mighty Prometheus, Great Titan, Mighty Lord, accept my sacrifice, sanctify my flame, let me wash away those who harsh this world. Allow me to know the wisdom of both the Water and the Flame.

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Ghosts of the Past

21st of Floodtime 383 ONT, 2:55pm, the village of Glenrummy, Glenrummy Gorge, 27k south of Lockland Keep

Please listen while reading

Thaden walked along the perimeter of the small hamlet, taking in the lay of the land, and searching for an area where he could perhaps lay a false trail. He found a small path that led him into a small green clearing. The clearing was in full Floodtime bloom, with tall spring flowers, thick green grass and a beautiful set of standing stones. In a moment he was transported years into the past.

THEN

Walking down the steps in Rootwallow, towards the holy glade of the elders. Meagre and Willkin at his side as many of the Clava and small folk were gathered about the glade. He was so nervous, and excited. He a veteran Guard Mouse who had faced scores of Wyzels in battle was nervous; there was nothing on Argyle that would make him turn away.

“You will be down in the circle with me” Meagre said to him, “Dalla will escort the lovely Moria down through the people and join us there, do you know yet what you will say?” the Master Guard Mouse asked. Thaden ran his paw through his fur

“I have an idea, I have the emotion… but the words have not yet come…” he said nervously

“That’s fine…” Meagre said putting a paw on his shoulder, “trust in the weave, it will guide you”. Dalla broke the sombre moment by taking Thaden’s shoulders

“I can’t believe you are at last being wed!” she said with a giddy glee that was unbecoming a Guard Mouse, she pulled the tartan wrap from her purse to show them once more. The colours of Rootwallow the blues and purple of the wrap were intricately woven of love. Dalla had spent weeks learning the spells of the weave to recreate the Tartan perfectly.

NOW

Thaden was on his knees, tears pouring from his eyes as he stared down at what was left of the blue and purple cloth. It was dirty and frayed, much of it had been burnt away by the globs of acid and chlorine that the mighty dragon had spewed. Thaden let out a shuddering sob, the episodes of the past rarely haunted him, but when they came there was little he could do to stop the progression. He shuddered and dropped his paws to the grass as he was again taken away from the present

THEN

He leapt across the glade screaming at the Hedgie’s to run

“GO GO, BY THE WEAVE GO!”

“I got’em Chap, you cover our tails on our out” Basil had cried to him, taking the lead on escorting the people of Rootwallow to the underground tunnels that might lead them to safety. Thaden nodded to him and called upon the weave again to spring the rest of the way across the glade to the circle of stones. Halfway across his arc he felt the clutches of Shepard’s mystic powers he was thrown against the wall of the far side as the green dragon let disgorge its acidic cloud. Moria and Dalla were in the centre of the fire… choked screams emerged from them as the smell of burning fur filled the air. He had been vaguely aware of Meagre and Wilkin diving onto the branches above and distracting the enemy. He knew he should join them but he couldn’t he raced across clearing. Pushing the stones and chairs out of the way. He found Moria gurgling and sputtering. He raced around looking for anything to bind her many wounds… the Tarten, his sash that would have hand-fasted them, he tugged in clear and quickly tried to stop the oozing bubbling bleeding from his beloved.

“Moria…” he sobbed, his voice thick and heavy

“…” she tried to speak, but it was a gasp of pain and a shuddering cough that spewed and green gas form her lungs

“I’m sorry Moria, I’m so sorry” he wailed holding her as best he could, he felt the weave leave her, felt her move to the beyond… felt his heart go with her

NOW

He fell to his side shuddering, his body covered in a cold sweat, the old scars of the acid burns alive and on fire once more, the fear that immobilized him taking hold firmly. He gasped but he could only smell the chlorine and acid in his lungs and began to choke. He shuddered on the ground a seizure taking over as his memories haunted him with every detail of the past.

THEN

“THADEN! THADEN WE HAVE TO GO! WE HAVE TO GO NOW!” Meagre was screaming at him as the Master Guard Mouse reached out with the weave and forced the cloud of acid and chlorine to divert around their position. Thaden laid beside his love and best friend in a puddle of the acid, accepting the burn as his punishment for not saving them. Meagre grabbed him pulling him away from the circle. Thaden’s hands were in a death grip on the tarten, some of his loves fur ripped as he and the tarten were pulled away. He was being thrown over Meagres shoulder and watched looking back as Meagre ran across the glade dodging acid and attacks, as he made for the tunnel. “COME ON THADEN! I NEED YOU THADEN! COME BACK TO ME THADEN!”

NOW

“COME BACK TO ME THADEN, COME BACK!” Aury said as she pulled the Guard Mouse out of the little glade. She had not known what had happened, but had suddenly felt the deepest sadness and remorse in her life. It was as if she were being forced to watch Serenity die over and over. The sadness had nearly caused her to fall over, but then she felt it’s source, and felt real physical pain from it. She had raced back to the find Thaden unconscious and choking. She thought perhaps the glade was haunted or cursed and pulled him from the area, then tried her best to flood their link with love and happiness… thankfully her link to others gave her a touchstone to call upon, she doubted on her own she’d of been able to imagine what happiness felt like with the pain and anguish that Thaden was filling her with. The Smith was her source, nothing there but bubbling springing happiness she clung to that like a life line and dragged herself and Thaden from the cold oblivion of anguish and pain. She looked at her friend, her best friend who slowly opened his eyes

“Goodbye Moria, goodbye” he said in an exhausted whisper… at last the far away look fled his eyes and they locked with Aury… “Thank you my friend… thank you”

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Little Trouble Pt 2

21st of Floodtime 383 ONT, 2:43pm, the village of Glenrummy, Glenrummy Gorge, 27k south of Lockland Keep

Thaden of Rootwallow walked into the Smithy and stood before Theodore Reedrunner. The Hedgie Smith was calling to his son Morgan to leave the coal and only bring a barrel of the enriched dust that he used.

“How fares Master Reedrunner?” Thaden said making his presence known. The man stiffened a little and bowed his head in respect

“Guard Mouse” he said formally, before breaking into his worries “I don’t know that we can go… this forge has been in our family for eight generations, each generation making new tools for new needs… There isn’t room to take all my tools, or even my anvil… how will I be able to rebuild? How can I leave all this to be destroyed or stolen?” the Hedgie was too proud to weep, but Thaden could see he was not far from the prospect.

“Take the ten tools you use most often… and I will make room for the anvil… somehow, have your son bury the rest, if fate or chance bring me back this way I will endeavour to retrieve the heirlooms for you when I can” the Hedige’s eyes lifted as he looked at the Guard Mouse

“You would do that for us?” he asked

“There is no greater honour than to serve, I cannot promise it will be done, but I can promise that if it is within my means, I will make every effort to do so” Thaden replied solemnly.

“Thank you Guard Mouse, you are a testament to your people” the Smith said, and Thaden offered a slight humble nod

“Hurry Master Reedrunner, our time grows short, and now you have much digging to do as well… Aury and I will come move your anvil into the wagon when you are ready, please prepare the rest of your things. And remember, I know not how long this journey will be, or how far, bring food and supplies for the road, and clothing for the winter months, do not only pack your livelihood, you also pack for the lives of your family”

“Yes Guard Mouse” the Smith said bowing once more as Thaden left and headed for the next home, to aid them in their packing.

He walked over to the Millers home, and watched the industrious Ms. Elmtail packing bags for her family, he nodded to her and passed through the apartments to the Mill, where the Chipious was standing looking at the great mill stone and scratching his head.

“We cannot take it, I’m sorry” Thaden said

“Guard Mouse” the Chipious bowed with a start, he had not heard Thaden approach. “It took us three generations to get this built…”

“You will rebuild in much less time, I have companions who are better able to accomplish these tasks… go to your family… help them pack your things, bring only the tools you need and can carry, leave the rest” the Chipious bowed his head mournfully but nodded

“yes Guard Mouse”

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Of Titanic Proportions....
Once again, magic fails to account for lifestyle...

Twice the height… Eight times heavier.. Flitt was still coming to terms with his new height, which all in all was fine being that he was still one of the shortest ones on a ship built for humans and elves, but the weight just didn’t balance out well.

He had experiences being enlarged before through magical means, and while you gained the same weight then, the situation you were usually in didn’t leave much time for thought. Flitt had noticed it only after they were out of danger and back on the ship. Only having the one outfit (that had thankfully changed size with him and had started out as a baggy pair of pants and lose shirt under his armor), was now closer akin to tights thanks to the added weight. He had visited a tailor to get some new clothing made to wear before sailing south, but the amount of cloth needed now was almost embarrassing.

4’2" tall, but now over 250 pounds, and he honestly couldn’t say it was all muscle despite the lifestyle of the average Promethean swashbuckler. It was time to find a way to train away the massive multiplied fat he had developed along with the Titans blessing, the only question was how was he going to accomplish that while on a sea voyage. they would be sailing too fast to swim for long periods, and it felt like there was even less room on the deck now that he took more space up. Not to mention the almost upsetting groaning the rigging was now making when he clambered up it.

Maybe Bronwyn would know of someone in port that would be willing to take a journey to the south and provide a specialized exercise regime, but where would they find someone who would understand training a Grippli..

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Little Trouble Pt 1

21st of Floodtime 383 ONT, 2:21pm, the village of Glenrummy, Glenrummy Gorge, 27k south of Lockland Keep

Thaden threw himself from the top of the building, reaching out with the weave to confirm his course was true. At the last moment as expected Aury slammed into the wildcats side causing it to stagger to the left. Sword in hand Thaden brought it down with all his might slamming through the creature’s eye and connecting with the brainstem behind. It yowled pathetically once and dropped to the ground dead. The blood smeared Waylen climbed down heaving heavily to catch his breath. Aury came up beside him, scratching once at the creature’s throat to assure it was well and truly gone. He breathed heavily as he looked to his companion a half smile on his lips

“That was the last of them I think, perhaps we should have brought your friends… that was more difficult than I thought it would be” the cat mewed in agreement as she licked her paw and began to try and clean some of the blood from herself. “You don’t need to do that Aury, I’m sure it tastes foul… I have some soap and can help you as soon as we assure the area is clear” the cat again mewed her thanks to him. As the two surveyed the area; they noted the town’s people were starting to come from their hovels and then saw Icarus flying towards their location, the bat did not appear to be at ease. Thaden pulled a rag from Aury’s saddle bag and wiped his blade clean sensing that the work was not yet complete.

“Hail Icarus, the Felinious have been vanquished or driven off; how fares the eastern end of the gorge?” Thaden said as the Clava landed.

“ne ochen’ khorosho…” the Clava stopped as the Waylen shook his head, he then rolled his eyes and switched to Mamalian so that Aury would be able to understand as well. “Not well, the far fields have been cleared of Raven’s but during my interrogation of a Wyzel I have discovered that it is known that you are here. Thrawn himself is on his way with fourteen companies of highly trained battle troops. They will destroy this town and turn it to ash, then likely turn their sights towards Rosemellow.”

“Blast!” the Waylen cursed. He did the mental math… it was not kind. They would need to move thirty three people overland and quickly, the villagers were hardy folk but not well equipped for long journeys. Thaden nodded to Icarus and with a tilt of the head ushered he and Aury to follow as he marched towards the centre of small hamlet. As he did his cheeks reddened as members of the hamlet began to cheer and applaud for them

“Well Done Guard Mouse” called a Chipious Farmer

“Our Debt to the Guard” Said the Hedgie Blacksmith

“Praise be to our brothers of the Clava” a Scurrious women hailed. Thaden took a deep breath and called upon the weave so that all in the town would hear him

“Good people of Glenrummy,” he began “It is true that we have indeed won the battle, the Felinious and Avians have been defeated” again he was forced to stop as a series of hoots and cheers came from the townsfolk. He knew this would haunt him. “Unfortunately the day is not won for us… as we speak, Grand Admiral Thrawn is on his way here with a force beyond the capacity of myself and my companions.” To this there were gasps of worry

“But you are a Guard Mouse” an old Scurrious called out, he wore the apron of a Tanner “There is nothing that can defeat a Guard Mouse when he is on the side of right” the man said quoting the ancient song. Thaden hung his head

“I know well the song of Ben-Jie, but sadly there are indeed things that even with the aid of the Weave I would be unable to handle… I might survive a confrontation with this group, but I could not guarantee the safety of you or your families” he said ushering to the villagers “I am sorry… but we cannot stay here, Thrawn will kill you all, and burn your homes to the ground… we must flee”

“Flee?” called out a Hedgie women

“where will we go” Called a Chipious man

“What of my mill?” called another Chipoious man

“or my smithy?” called the Hedgie Black smith

“What of the children?” a Scurious women yelled. Thaden raised his hands to try and calm them down while he spoke.

“Gather what you need, but only what you can carry, we will never be returning to this place, but I promise you that I will find you a new home, a safe place where you can once again build lives and rear your children safely. Go quickly and choose wisely what you will bring, we leave in one hours’ time.” With that he turned and stalked back to Aury and Icarus.

“priyatnaya rech’…” Icarus began, but received the glare and once more switched languages “Cutting it a bit close aren’t you?”

“We can’t expect them to leave their homes forever and not give them at least a little time… Icarus, please head to the eastern end of the gorge… let me know if our enemy enters your sites, else meet back here in an hour” the Clave nodded and took flight. “Aury… I am sorry, I may need you to pull a wagon… the people have a few hand carts, I will go ask Mr. Twofur if he can fashion some into a wagon so that we might travel with a few more things…” that cat nodded her agreement, he knew she would, but it felt wrong not to ask. “Ok, I’ll do what I can to help these folks get packed, if you want to head west and start scouting a few trails, find the easiest paths we can take that give us the most cover… watch for preators, and remember we will have carts with us, so nothing too tricky” the cat offered an energetic mew” and turned scampering for the western reaches of the hamlet. Thaden took a steadying breath and walked towards the smithy, preparing himself for what was yet to come.

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Starcrossed Pt 3

20th of Floodtime 383 ONT, 7:21pm, The Steps Behind The Stalsbury Inn, Lockland.

Taaj al-Pour looked up at the stars questioning the very gods above, how did he get himself into this situation. He looked down seeing the women of his dreams wrapped in his arms, her face all blotchy from the tears that poured from her as she sobbed into his fine silken shirt.

Things had started out well, they had been on a successful date last night, and met again for lunch today; he was fascinated about every aspect of this driven courageous women. It saddened him how she was being used; he was still unsure how to break it to her that she traveled with wanted terrorist and thieves. As best he could tell, she was a craftsmen and likely oblivious to the nefarious deeds of her fellow crew members. They had agreed to meet for dinner tonight at the Stalsbury, the inn was of some repute and he’d needed to lean on Shaheed to help secure him a table here. His brother had given him a fair amount of ribbing for it, but all in all was ‘unwilling to stand in the way of true love’. Taaj would have preferred if Shaheed had left the mocking tone from his voice as well, but securing the table had been enough. Sadly is love, dear Mandy, had been late. Taaj had begun to panic that perhaps she not feel the same way, maybe she had given up on him. When she arrived it had been much worse. She wore a dress, simple yet elegant, Taaj could tell it was brand new, likely bought today for this specific meal, his Mandy was not used to the finer things, something he planned to correct. The dress however was stained with mud along one side, her hair was slightly dishevelled and her elbow was scrapped. Of course he had raced to her side, and quickly escorted her out the back of the restaurant where they could speak in private as to what happened. It had taken nearly half an hour and he still wasn’t sure of how all this had happened

“I just wanted to do something right for once… and I screwed it all up again…” he sobbed, he held her close as she did.

“Shhhhh, Shhhh… it’s ok, but Mandy, how could you think someone named ‘The Weasel’ was a baker, or even a good person?” he tried to ask, this only caused her to cry more deeply. And though he was thrilled to be holding her so close, the fact that she was upset shook him to the core

“He said if I didn’t get him the money, then ‘people would get hurt’… and Captain Alfrin… he’s not gonna be back in time, I didn’t know what else to do… he has Hiro’s egg, and I need to get that back… but… I screwed it all up, and now everyone I love is in danger…” again she broke off into staggered sobs

“Hush, hush now my dear Mandy” he soothed patting the back of her head. “I told you that I am a merchant right?” she looked up and nodded at him “well, there is a little more to it than that, my brother and I work for a large Merchant consortium… and problems like yours… that is what we get paid to sort out” Mandy looked up at him, hope in her eyes

“You’d help me, even if I was stupid?” she asked. He couldn’t help but crack a wide smile; he should thank the idiot loan shark for allowing him to be a hero in this women’s eyes

“You are a kind and good hearted person Mandy Doyle, and this person took advantage of that. Tomorrow my brother and I will pay him a small visit, collect your egg from him and explain how business is to be done in the future” Mandy wrapped her hands around him in a giant hug of excitement

“You’d do that for me? I’ll pay him back, I swear, I just need a little more time to get things in order and…”

“Hush now, let me speak with this “Weasel” fellow, and see what needs doing, in the meantime, if I may ask, why not clean your face and come enjoy one of the finest meals Lockland has to offer” she smiled and nodded taking his hand and allowed him to lead her back into the Stalsbury Inn.

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Letter of Interest

The Letter Arrived by porter, and was brought to the Ship at 6:15pm on the 19th of Floodtime

Dear Mr. Fargazer

It occurs to me, that you might be a forgiving type. The type of person that understands that a man can make mistakes and that if he has forgiveness in his heart… or at least really really regrets what he did, and maybe had a decent reason, not that there is ever a decent reason for it, but you know some considerations do bare considerin. I guess what I am sayin is that I am in a bit of trouble, and just when I heard you were in port, and I am hoping that you might well consider coming and talking to me. The issue I am having is a bit of a time sensitive one, and I know you’re a busy man in all, being a fellow member of the cloth and all, and someone who is on the road to knowledge wisdom and discovery, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you at least come and talk to me, well that would be something, I suppose… anyway this little piece of paper doesn’t have much room and the fellow in the tan shirt seems to be getting all wound up over this, so here is the skinny. I am at the 9th guard house and being held in lock up three… I am allowed to have visitors, but due to my very special set of circumstances I would need to meet with you before 7:15am. I am not a beggin man, just a practical one… so I hope we can share a chat and sort something out.

Yours

Cassidy

DAN let me know if you want to meet with him and I will email you the details

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Starcrossed Pt 2

19th of Floodtime 383 ONT, 3:23pm, the Porcelain Cup Teahouse, Lockland.

Shaheed sipped his tea, bemused by his brother’s manic foot tapping. Taaj knew the look but was not yet ready to speak more. Instead he reached forward to the three tiered tray and grabbed another of the tiny avocado sandwiches and stuffed it into his mouth; he had to admit they were delicious what with their crustless white fluffy bread and creamy green fillings. His brother tsk at his behavior, carefully replacing his cup on the fine porcelain saucer before speaking.

“You saw a pretty girl, and she likes you, so what of it brother there is rarely a port where you don’t find a women to warm your bed”

“You don’t understand Shaheed… this is different, I think… I think… I think I am in love” as Taaj said the words his face split in an ear to ear smile as he knew what he said to be true. Shaheed couldn’t help but grin at his usually sombre brother. Taaj continued “She is breathing incarnation of beautiful, she stills my heart and lifts me up on wings of joy” the half elf said jumping from his seat and taking up an actors pose to proclaim his joy for all in the Tea House to hear. Shaheed held his seat with an eyebrow raised in amusement

“You don’t love a woman because she is beautiful; she is beautiful because you love her… so says the great prophet. How can she be truly beautiful if you do not yet know her brother?” Taaj was not to be outdone as he raised one hand above him and began to recite the words of the playwrites of old

“Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as the elves call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it cannot be denied. It is beautiful and messy, cracking a chest open and spilling their soul forth for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt strikes, your life is irrevocably changed” there was a spattering of applause from the few other patrons of the tea house. Shaheed sighed and rose to his feet taking the proper drama stance to respond in kind

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that she is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident” he paused as he was given a louder applause from the patrons once more, some had turned their chairs with great interest in the impromptu show that had araisen. Shaheed looked sternly at his brother “Perhaps there is something with this girl, something you have not felt before, but take caution my brother, do not confuse love and lust. Father will arrange a marriage that is right for you, enjoy your time flirting and lusting, but do not confuse it for love, that is entirely something else” Taaj looked hard at his brother, he took a short sip of water and then proclaimed loudly

“You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it; I’ve seen centuries and centuries of it. It’s the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All the wars, pain, lies, and hate, made me want to turn away and never look down again. But to see the way that Argyle loves! I mean you could search the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So, yes I know that love is unconditional, but I also know it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable, and strangely easy to mistake for loathing. And, well, what I’m trying to say, is… I think I am in love. My heart it feels like my chest can barely contain it, like it doesn’t belong to me anymore; it belongs to her, and if she wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange: no gifts, no goods, no demonstrations of devotion, nothing, but knowing she loves me, too. Just her heart in exchange for mine.” An older women sniffled taking a hanky to her eyes before calling out

“The silique of Selwyn always makes me cry… bravo young man, bravo” Shaheed looked around the room, the crowd had developed to a bit of a larger one now. He cleared his voice searching his knowledge of the ancient texts and plays to better make his point to his brother, he had to admit, his brother had the advantage, few revered plays were based on one being prudent in love.

“You are not in love with me, you are in love with the idea of me, and the pain you bring on our houses for such an idea is the pain of a thousand lashes. Travel on young sailor and know not what pain in turmoil you leave in your wake” the applause began but Taaj cut it off

“O happy hours when I may once more encircle within these arms the dearest object of my love- when I shall again feel the pressure of that ‘aching head’ which will delight to recline upon my bosom, when I may again press to my heart which palpitates with the purest affection that loved one who has so long shared its undivided devotion” when he finished he shared a long look with Shaheed, who at last shrugged and raised his hands in defeat. The two turned and nodded their heads to the impromptu audience before finding their seats once more.

“So… you claim to love her, and forgetting that greater obstacles that she lives in a River City and you in the great Deserts… or that we are on a quest of some importance… or that you don’t even know her name…”

“Ah but I do know her name dear brother, and what an elegant name it is… a name worthy of angles…” Shaheed rolled his eyes, this must be the elven half of his brother talking, as never had any of his other brothers acted as such fools as Taaj was now

“and what is this oh so angelic name? if I may ask?”

“Mandy” he replied

“Mandy? What is that short for Miranda? Amanda? Armandia? Mirnanditha?”

“ummm…” there was a brief silence as Shaheed leaned in

“You don’t know… you don’t even know her full name” he said accusingly

“well I didn’t have time to get all the information, we just met and…”

“Here you are standing on the tables proclaiming this girl as your one true love, and you don’t even know her name…”

“…I had to meet you back here, and that cut my time short, I’m planning on asking…”

“… oh the great love stories to the dear and true Mandy…” Shaheed put his hands forward in a mocking dramatic gesture “Oh Mandy, how the sun doth shine and wind doth carry your name…”

“knock it off” Taaj grumbled, but Shaheed was still having his fun, trying to cut off the snickers

“It sounds like the name of a twelve year girl… little Mandy”

“ENOUGH” Taaj said, louder than he had meant… the room went quiet for a minute but Taaj waved his hands apologetically and turned back to his brother. “Can you not just be excited for me? I am happy, I am meeting her tonight, what is the harm?” at last Shaheed gave his brother a grin and a laugh

“Oh to be young and foolish… so be it, we are here for a few more days anyway, at least until the Dumatheon crew arrive in port, you might as well have your fun until then” at these words Taaj’s heart dropped a little, it hurt him not to tell his brother that he had seen Fargazer, and knew the ship they were hunting was in port. But he needed to see Mandy again, to find out why she was on this ship, and secure her safety before he told his brother anything.

“thank you brother” he managed to say as he lifted his tea cup in a small toast and reached for another little triangle sandwich.

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Destiny Awaits a Goddess, Part Two

“Sit with me, Maul-Chaluim of Clan Silverfish,” Miriel said. She pointed at the ground before her, and showed no emotion while she watched Maul struggled on whether he would listen to her or not. He stared at her through wisps of black hair, his hands shaking either with fear or anger, she could not tell. Finally, however, he sat cross-legged in front of her in the same position as herself. He took care not to touch her…but still sat within a finger tip.

“Goddess of the Night Wind. You should not be so bold to summon me whenever you wish; I was in the middle of assisting with camp.”

“I see through the eyes of my holy image, Maul-Chaluim, and you are nowhere to be seen; how would I know what you are doing?”

“If you’re a goddess, shouldn’t you see everything and anything of what you wish?” he asked bitterly, absently playing with the ground at his side.

“I am a young goddess, my wild elf.” Miriel dropped her hands to her own side, and slowly mirrored his motions, enjoying the feel of the grass on her skin. “Do you fault me for being as a child, following my path set out for me by Fate?”

“You would compare this to following a sacred path?!”

Miriel slowed her fingers and began tracing ancient mudras in the grass. The wind picked up, catching playfully at both of their hairs. “I would. I was but a foolish youngling when I wandered in that shop.” She looked away from Maul’s face for a moment, contemplating nothing in the distance while she thought back to that day. A small smile spread on her lips. “It was a test, I know that now. I was given my own tattoo and introduced to a whole new world; a new fantastic point of view. No one told me no, or where to go, or say I was only dreaming…a whole new world with you.”

The wild elf blushed; his fingers now echoed her movements, tracing mudras he’d never known without even realizing it. “It’s…not just me, there are others.”

Miriel cocked her head to one side. “Yes, tell me of the others.”

“The gnome is a loyal friend and is always there to lend aid.” His right hand whipped outward for a moment, his frustration evident. “He is a bit of a coward, however, and will often follow Cur…”. The wild elf swallowed the word quickly, closing his eyes and once again moving his hand in time with her own. “The fairy gibbers at me; I’ve not the patience to learn Fey. And the Tengu is interesting – his view of this world most definitely differs from Curt…” He cut his words off again with a loud growl, his frame jumping slightly from the ground.

Miriel held her hands up in front of his face, watching him from beneath her lashes. She began tracing the mudras in the air between them, calmly. After a few moments Maul, with obvious reluctance, raised his own hands and matched her in movement, his motions tentative at first then every bit as graceful as her own. “And what of your final member of my First Order? The one of your group that you actually Name.” She raised her eyes and stared hard at him, daring him to leave her question unanswered. “What of my Priest?”

“Curtis,” he answered, sighing with regret. “He is fine, I gave him a much deserved beating and left.” He noticed her anger and matched fire with fire. “What? He’ll be fine, he would have used one of your Blessings to heal himself and continue on his journey.”

“You left my Priest alone, with Dwarven murderers surrounding him, and you think he is fine?! He was captured and beaten, and is now to be put to the death on the 33rd of Floodside!”

“WHAT?!?!?” Maul grabbed her hands and brought them onto his heart. “The only one to beat him is me! And, well, you, my Goddess.” He suddenly noticed he held her hands and let go quickly, but she was quicker, pulling his hands onto her own chest.

“No, my wild elf, you will not get away from me that easily. You are my weapon just as Curtis is my words. Be my hurricane and destroy those that would defy my will, rip them from this very earth and hurl them to their death for daring to lay a hand on my own! Make me stronger so I can protect my people properly! Show those that have fallen so low that my children can bring them back up to heights they’ve never dreamed of! A storm you will be – SO A STORM YOU SHALL HAVE!!!”

Miriel brought his hands to her lips and kissed them, and the power of a thousand winds screaming to be loosed jolted from deep within and into Maul, making him stiffen and jerk in her grip. Proudly she watched as he buried his own scream deep inside himself, as if his very life depended on it. Dark clouds gathered suddenly above them, thunder and lightning a surreal dream while the wind that blew in their midst a terrifying nightmare.

Maul bent on top of her, hair whipping about him as she cradled his head in the crook of her neck, wings flaring out but untouched by the storm; indeed, the wind licked at each feather as a lover would eagerly lick hot skin. She held him until his spasms stopped, and he looked up with no hint of exhaustion, only a fury that would not stop…a flash of lighting and rippled darkness flashed in his eyes, so quickly it was almost imagined. She clasped the back of his neck and brought her head in so they were forehead to forehead. “I gift that power to you, my wild elf; you are my Storm and none shall stand in your way.”

“Yes, my Goddess of the Night Wind,” he whispered, hands holding just as hard onto her own neck, proud and firm. “I will show them what happens when a Storm is unleashed upon the undeserving….”

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